Edinburgh ‘cocaine king’ Mark Richardson has artwork seized while in prison

Edinburgh gangster Mark Richardson has had thousands of pounds worth of artwork seized while he is in prison.

The jailed drug dealer had 12 pieces of art and one watch confiscated after they were recovered by enforcement officers from the Civil Recovery Unit, reports the Daily Record.

The 34-year-old is currently serving a prison sentence of eight years and nine months at HMP Glenochil for possessing a loaded Glock handgun. He was one of nine men jailed for a total of almost 90 years in January 2018 for his role in drugs and arms plots. The gang was described by prosecutor Alex Prentice QC as Scotland’s “most sophisticated” crime group.

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Richardson was also jailed for ten years in 2010 for running a huge cocaine and heroin operation worth millions of pounds, with much of the activity based in the Capital. He has also been linked to various gangland shootings.

Mark Richardson.Mark Richardson.
Mark Richardson.

In 2019, he was moved from Saughton prison to Glenochil jail near Alloa in the wake of reports that he was “running” the prison with a fellow inmate.

The recovered artwork includes signed prints by artists Peter Howson and Graham McKean. All seized items will be sold at auction later this year and proceeds will go to the Scottish Consolidated Fund, which is operated by the Scottish Parliament.

A spokesperson for the Civil Recovery Unit said: “An order has been granted for the forfeiture of certain assets.

“They will be valued and sold in due course.”

Mark Richardson. Pic: PoliceMark Richardson. Pic: Police
Mark Richardson. Pic: Police

Heroin dealer William O’Neil, Peter Howson’s former manager, had a collection of the artist’s paintings frozen by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency in 2009. Both O’Neil and his partner were charged under proceeds of crime laws.

Friends of the artist told the Daily Record at the time that Mr Howson was “treated like a machine” and ripped off Howson and put pressure on him to produce work – but that he saw little money in return. They told the newspaper the artist eventually took legal action and argued that, as an Asperger’s sufferer, he did not know what he had agreed to.

The Civil Recovery Unit is a team made up of solicitors, financial investigators, support staff and a forensic accountant. The unit acts on behalf of Scottish ministers and in practice it investigates and recovers the proceeds of crime without the need for criminal conviction.

The Civil Recovery Unit works together with colleagues at the Crown Office, Serious and Organised Crime Unit, and other law enforcement agencies such as UK Police Forces, HMRC and Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) to identify and recover the proceeds of crime.

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